We are looking for two PhD candidates that will work on a project on circular economy and degrowth in city regions, titled DECYCLE and led by the PI, Dr. Federico Savini. The project studies the regulatory frameworks that establish how waste materials are reused and reduced in cities. Three sectors are investigated: the built environment and construction waste, food waste and industrial food chains, and residual heat networks from incineration. As part of the PhD trajectory, the candidates will carry out empirical research and conceptual analysis of initiatives that both aim to reuse and reduce waste streams. These initiatives will be selected together with the supervisor but will take place in city-regions of four specific countries: Spain, Italy (PhD1) Germany and Austria (PhD2). One candidate will focus on Italy and Spain. The other on Germany and Austria (please see language requirements).
The project DECYCLE is funded by the ERC starting grant. The PhD candidates will work with the Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Federico Savini, and will be embedded in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam. The PhD track is part of the AISSR's PhD programme, and the candidate will become a member of the Urban Planning research group.What are you going to do
The PhD candidates will be integral part of the DECYLE project. In their research they will advance knowledge on how the degrowth framework can inform circular economy practices in city regions.
A transition towards a degrowth economy is necessary to tackle the related challenges of resource scarcity and waste accumulation. Degrowth pursues socio-economic wealth while reducing material flows and reusing waste in socially responsible and ecologically regenerative ways. As a concrete approach to realizing these ends, the concept of the circular economy has gathered political momentum. However, this model will have no impact on city-regions' ecological footprint unless it challenges the regulations that dismiss certain materials as waste in the first place. DECYCLE interrogates the legal, spatial, and economic regulations that define waste streams' political responsibilities, geographies, and financial architecture. Its method aims to map actors engaged in defending and contesting regulations, through several methods for engaged research and fieldwork. Theoretically, the project addresses the relationship between regulations and the urban metabolism in contemporary eco-capitalism. Its aim is to set a pathway to free urbanization from its dependency on raw materials and its increasing production of waste.Within this project, you will:
- Carry out empirical research in two city-regions (PhD1: Spain and Italy, PhD2: Germany, Austria). This involves visiting these cities and build up the fieldwork there;
- Investigate empirically how different sets of regulations are being used, contested, defended by the actors involved. This will involve an extensive qualitative analysis of (among others) reports, policy statements, written materials, newspaper articles, financial reports;
- Develop conceptual analysis on the institutional challenges of degrowth, building on the empirical evidence collected. This involves engaging with critical scholarship on degrowth, urbanization and the urban metabolism;
- Contribute to debates on degrowth and circular economy internationally. This involves attending international events and achieve publications in high-ranked journals;
- Join the teamwork in the DECYCLE project, composed of 2 PhDs, one post-doc and one research assistant;
- Help to organize scientific activities together with the PI (eg. seminars and workshops);
- Join the work of the Urban Planning Research Group at Department of Geography, Planning and International Development studies at the University of Amsterdam. This will allow you to help in the organization of activities in the group;
- Assist the mentoring of master's students.